Affordable housing meets the need for accessibility
Arlington’s Colonial Village historic garden-style apartments are situated in a beautiful park-like setting and located just one block from the Courthouse Metro station and close to a variety of retail, commercial and government job centers.
Located within this expansive property is a 162-unit affordable housing community owned and operated by Wesley Housing Development Corporation. This community is linked to Arlington’s history, but it is also unique because it boasts a large number of accessible units, with 17 ADA-compliant apartments.
When the property was renovated in 2012, these new accessible units, along with 14 new family-sized, three-bedroom units, were created to address two key areas of need identified in the County’s affordable housing assessment, families and persons with disabilities.
The property serves a diverse community of all family types, ages and income levels. Of the 162 apartment units, 20 percent have market-rate rents and 80 percent are affordable for residents making up to 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), approximately $52,000 in 2015 for a two-person household and $65,000 for a family of four.
Wesley Housing develops affordable housing in Arlington and Fairfax Counties and the City of Alexandria. Since 1974, they have helped develop 25 communities with 1,700 units. Their developments combine affordable housing with family programs and supportive services for adults and children.
“We provide housing and wraparound services to meet the needs of our residents,” said Shelley Murphy, CEO. “And we try to be good neighbors and good stewards of the community.”
Wesley was able to retain all of the residents who wanted to stay by relocating them temporarily during renovations. The renovated community has new windows and roofs, full kitchen and bathroom makeovers, a community room and indoor bike storage. A new community resource center provides support and services for children and adults, including English as a Second Language classes and workforce development training.
Built between 1935 and 1940, Colonial Village was the first large-scale rental housing project in the nation to be insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Because Colonial Village is a National Historic Site, Wesley Housing’s renovation project had to be completed within the guidelines for historic preservation.
The $14.2 million renovation project was completed in December 2012. The development is EarthCraft certified and was named the EarthCraft Multifamily Renovation Project of the Year in 2013 for its energy-efficiency upgrades, water conservation efforts, improved air quality and use of sustainable materials. EarthCraft Virginia is one of the largest green building programs in the country.
Like many affordable housing developments, financing came from a variety of sources, including a $2.5 million loan from Arlington County’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF) and $15.8 million in equity from low-income housing, and state and federal historic preservation tax credits. The AHIF loan was subsequently repaid in full at permanent loan conversion when the property was able to take advantage of historically low permanent interest rates through an FHA affordable housing preference refinancing program.
Capital One Bank provided the construction and loan, as well as the equity investment through Hudson Housing Capital. A grant from the Home Depot Foundation provided funding for a solar panel demonstration project which provides supplemental power for certain common areas.
Learn more about affordable housing in Arlington.